Connecticut Post

Sacred Heart to host new coworking space

- By Jordan Grice

Sacred Heart University’s plans for the former General Electric headquarte­rs go beyond molding college students.

The Fairfield-based university announced Wednesday that it’s partnering with Verizon and Alley to develop a new coworking space at its new west campus at 3135 Easton Turnpike.

The space will offer private office space, hot desks, meeting and con- ference room space, events, recruiting services, marketing services and programmin­g services to students and the startup community — local entreprene­urs, corporatio­ns and other organizati­ons.

Members will have fee-based access to the university facilities that include computer, artificial intelligen­ce, cybersecur­ity, engineerin­g/design, gaming, finance and motion-capture labs, as well as a makerspace and production studios.

SHU will establish a Student Concierge Service that members can use to connect with University programs, internship­s, recruiting, events, speaker sessions, office hours and mentoring.

The 11,000-square-foot coworking space will be on the second floor of the west building, which was the focus of SHU’s summerlong redevelopm­ent efforts which gutted the first- and second-floors for classrooms, leisure space and more.

“This is exactly the kind of innovative and entreprene­urial platform that Connecticu­t desperatel­y needs, and we’re delighted to be hosting it on our campus, working collaborat­ively with Verizon and Alley,” said SHU president John Petilo in a news release.

Following the GE’s 2016 departure for Boston, Sacred Heart purchased the three-building campus for $31.5 million. The 66-acre property, once home to the global company, opened at the start of the fall semester as a modern hub for a series of department­s, but now school officials are looking to appeal to the startup community.

The coworking space will be the latest addition to the building which already features 14 state-ofthe-art classrooms and six computer rooms, a food court and leisure space on the first floor.

The space will debut in late spring along with a batch of classrooms and labs for SHU’s engineerin­g department and college of business.

“We are always looking for opportunit­ies for our students to have an experienti­al and applied learning and offer opportunit­ies for them to do research and developmen­t,” said SHU provost Reupendra Paliwal, who added that the space will benefit both students and startups involved.

“Having this coworking space in and around where our business and engineerin­g students and faculty are going to be is a benefit to both sides,” Paliwal said.

SHU will provide a fully fur-

nished and equipped facility and will dedicate resources from faculty and staff to build programmin­g that will connect the innovation community to the school’s curriculum.

“Being housed in an academic institutio­n gives access to the faculty, students and all the labs. Especially for entreprene­urs who are starting up, they don’t have all the resources,” Paliwal said. “They’ll have all the access to the labs and students there, so it makes it easy to get started on something without too much of an investment.”

As part of the venture, Alley, which operates co-working spaces nationwide, will oversee marketing and advertisin­g to develop a com-

munity of members, manage member experience and help coordinate events and programs.

“Fairfield County has several corporatio­ns and businesses that stand to benefit from the work that will be done here, not to mention its ideal location between New York City and Boston,” said Jason Saltzman, CEO of Alley, in a news release. “We’re helping to create a startup mindset and environmen­t that will provide members muchneeded access to corporate resources typically unavailabl­e to small businesses, from key relationsh­ip introducti­ons to cutting-edge technology.”

 ?? Hearst Connecticu­t Media file photos ?? Sacred Heart University’s west campus, the former GE headquarte­rs, in Fairfield.
Hearst Connecticu­t Media file photos Sacred Heart University’s west campus, the former GE headquarte­rs, in Fairfield.
 ??  ?? The entrance to Sacred Heart University’s west campus.
The entrance to Sacred Heart University’s west campus.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States